Okanagan College students in Penticton urge green light for proposed new apartment complex

Students urge new housing

Penticton post-secondary students and employees have thrown their support behind a new proposed apartment complex near Okanagan College that faces a public hearing Tuesday.

Radec Development is looking to build more than 200 units on a 6.6-acre lot on Timmins Street, located behind the college and Canadian Tire. It is currently zoned industrial, but they hope to change that.

To sweeten the deal, developers have offered to pitch in $110,000 towards traffic-calming improvements to Moosejaw Street, which runs parallel to Timmins Street. Neighbourhood residents have already expressed concerns that Moosejaw traffic will get out of control if density rises in the area.

But employees and students alike at Okanagan College hope mayor and council will see the benefit of more housing in the area.

The college student union wrote an open letter to council explaining how deeply their community needs more density.

"There is no set student-orientated housing in Penticton. In fact, Penticton is now the only community of the main four campuses of Okanagan College to not have housing, or a housing plan in the works for students. This could limit how much our campus may be able to grow over the next few years," they wrote.

"Having affordable housing adjacent to campus will allow students to save on other also inflated costs such as transportation to and from campus, and affording groceries. Post secondary students deserve to have the college experience they have been waiting for and working hard for here in Penticton."

Okanagan College VP of employee and corporate services Curtis Morcom echoed the sentiment in his own letter to council.

"Okanagan College intends to continue recruitment efforts to expand our student base in Penticton and our students have indicated for several years that finding housing, particularly housing that is affordable and suitable to the student academic calendar is a significant challenge when they come to the community," he wrote.

"We look forward to being involved in future discussions related to this project."

The proposed zoning change will go to public hearing at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

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